ECHO PARK — Many of Echo Park’s older homes and commercial buildings reflect a time before the automobile came to dominate Los Angeles. Most shops and commercial buildings, for example, provided no parking at all for customers. If they did, the parking was in the back. But in 1927, the construction of a new market at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Quintero Street reflected the growing impact of the auto, with off-street parking provided conveniently in the front of the building, not the back. The former Mission Market is now the Casablanca Furniture store but those diagonal parking spaces remain out front. Now, this piece of L.A. roadside architecture is for sale for $7.9 million, according to LoopNet.
The business is not included in the sale. Only the approximately 13,000-square-foot lot and the building are for sale.
Historian Jonathan Gillett tipped us off that this 1927 building once housed the Mission Market, which had also been referred to as the Mission Motor-In Market or Mission Drive-in Market.
“These types of markets were the first to privilege the automobile over pedestrians by having parking lots, and were the direct precursors to the uber-Angeleno strip mall phenomenon,” Gillett said in an email.
The Mission Market building has been cited in a book about L..A. commercial architecture, which noted that most 1920s drive-in markets have been “destroyed or altered beyond recognition, save the Mission Market whose fabric remains remarkably intact.”
An L.A. Times story on the proliferation of corner shopping centers or mini-malls says the Mission Market and similar drive-in markets of the 1920s reflected L.A.’s early embrace of the automobile, with fanciful designs and, of course, convenient parking. ” The automobile comes first, the pedestrian second.” The building, as the L.A. Times story noted that the Mission Market is “barely recognizable as its former self” but but remains standing.
How longer it will remain standing remains a question mark as the property is being marketed as a potential development site.
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